Ask Dr. Joy: Are You a Procrastinator?

By WEEK Reporter

September 7, 2011 Updated Sep 7, 2011 at 7:42 PM CDT

Do you find yourself waiting until the very last minute to finish a task, write a report, or do an assignment? If so, you may be one of count of thousands of Americans who are chronic procrastinators!

What does procrastination mean?

Procrastination is a learned behavior that grows in intensity throughout time. Typically, procrastinators defer or delay tasks, but find these delays actually just put us further behind. Procrastination not only delays things, but it also means that we choose to do something instead, generally choices which don't serve us and create more challenges in our lives.

What are some of the consequences of procrastination?

1. CREATES PHOBIAS: Continuous procrastination builds up a phobia of tasks which eventually can immobilize us.
2. CAUSES STRESS: It can also create stress and pressure on those who fear they will never finish the task
3. BUILDS POOR SELF ESTEEM: It creates self-defeating feelings and erodes self-confidence.
4. CREATES FATIGUE: It zaps energy by constantly taking our energy away because of fear of failure or insecurity that we can achieve the goal.
5. REINFORCES FEARS: Procrastination reminds us that we are incapable of achieving our goals.

What are the steps to kicking the procrastination habit?

1. CONVERSION: You have to know you have a problem and then you have to want to change! You have to move to a place of wanting vs. having to change. It is about the desire to change.
2. AFFIRM: Tell yourself you ARE capable of achieving this goal or task
3. MAKING PRIORITIES: put the things that you have a hard time doing at times when you have the most energy to do it. If you are a morning person, that's the time to address your hardest tasks
4. DELEGATE: Decide if the task is something you can hire out, or something which you can delegate to another person.
5. DO IT IN STEPS: You've heard me say this a million times, break down the steps into little baby ones so the job doesn't seem so overwhelming. Tackle it in little bite-size pieces
6. REWARD YOURSELF: Discover what works for you and then reward yourself when you achieve your task!

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